NORMAN, Okla. – No. 10 Oklahoma outscored No. 19 Texas A&M in the second half of play to win their seventh-straight in Big 12 Conference play, 68-56, Tuesday night before a school-record crowd of 12,168 at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Senior forward Patrice Reado (Houston, Texas) played through severe migraine headaches to score 12 of her career-high 19 points in league play on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. She recorded 10 points in the first 11 minutes of play with a combination of baby hook shots and layups against the All-American presence of OU’s Courtney Paris in the paint. Reado also contributed four of the team’s 14 steals versus the Sooners.
The Aggies (17-7, 5-5) took a six-point lead into halftime, 32-26, only to be cut by Oklahoma (18-4, 8-2) in the opening minutes of the second half. The Sooners, looking to avenge a 54-52 loss which ended their 26-game conference win streak, went on to outscore A&M, 42-24, behind a trio of long-range three-pointers by Jenna Plumley who ended the night with 18 points.
A&M turned in a first half filled with up-tempo offense and pressure defense. Reado was one of four players to reach double figures including junior Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and senior Morenike Atunrase (Shreveport, La.) who each had 11. The Aggies led by as many as eight with 2:34 to go before the break.
Defensively, the Aggies forced OU to commit 17 first-half turnovers which resulted in 14 of their 32 first-half points. The Sooners, however, minimized their miscues to four and started the second half on a 13-2 run. Danielle Robinson was sent to the line and made both to tie up the ballgame at 32-all with 18:13 on the clock. Plumley drained a three to increase the OU lead to 37-32.
Junior Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) kept A&M close with 10 of her 13 points coming in the second half of play, but it wasn’t enough as the Aggies lost their first in the last three outings versus OU in the all-time series. Last season, A&M swept Oklahoma for the first time since the league’s inception in 1996-97.
Paris led all scorers and rebounders with her 88th career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Robinson added 15.
Up next, the Aggies will host a rematch with Texas Tech on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m. A&M’s “Beat The Hell Outta Breast Cancer” game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Postgame Notes…For the ninth time this season, Texas A&M used the starting lineup of A’Quonesia Franklin, Takia Starks, Danielle Gant, Patrice Reado and La Toya Micheaux (5-4)…A&M (+6) became the fifth team this season to lead OU at the half next to two of the last three national champions in Maryland (+18), Tennessee (+3), Michigan State (+11) and Oklahoma State (+13)…It was the fourth-largest halftime deficit by the Sooners against those five opponents…Reado turned in the second-best half of her career with 12 first-half points against OU next to 14 second-half points versus Pepperdine on Nov. 10, 2006…She scored a season-and career-high 19 points in Big 12 play…Her previous league-high was 18 versus Kansas on Feb. 3, 2007…It marked her fourth-straight double-digit game…The A&M defense caused OU to turn over the ball 21 times with 17 in the first half alone...The Sooners became the 16th A&M opponent of the season to have 20-or-more miscues in a ballgame…Starks kept her consecutive double-digit scoring streak alive with 13 points for her 29th straight…,Oklahoma City native Gant tied a career-best against OU with 11 points…Franklin had five assists and two points versus the Sooners…She is now one point away from obtaining her 1,000th career point at A&M with 999 to date…An OU school-record 12,168 fans packed Lloyd Noble Center for Tuesday night’s contest...With the loss, the Aggies fall to 2-14 when playing on the road in Norman.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR
On OU’s second-half comeback …
“That was a great second half by Oklahoma. It’s the same thing that happened to us in the Texas game. We came out flat after we were up by 17 against Texas. We implored them to play with energy and get into the open court. They did a lot better job of executing their half-court offense. The reason you can execute your half-court offense, is because our pressure was non-existent on the guards in the second half. Our post players aren’t going to be able to guard the sisters (Courtney and Ashley Paris) one-on-one. The difference in the ballgame was (Jenna) Plumley, not Paris. Plumley ran the show and hit threes. Give the kid credit. Each team has a hustle player. We have a hustle team. She’s the coach’s choice in there. It’s easy to shoot the three when you are wide open and that’s our fault.”
On the difference of the ballgame …
“We couldn’t get into any full-court transition and I doubt if we had a single fast break. We had one steal in the second half and they had four turnovers. That’s good play by Oklahoma. The whole ballgame was simply our lack of pressure defense in the second half and their very good offensive execution. You are not going to win the ballgame with the press. It’s going to be won on the half-court defense and half-court offense. It was a great crowd and a great atmosphere tonight.”
On Patrice Reado’s play …
“This kid played with severe migraines the whole ballgame. I give her a lot of credit. We knew the only shot that would be open was the baby hook. We were trying to lean and score that way all night (against the Paris twins).”
SENIOR FORWARD PATRICE READO
On playing through severe migraines against OU …
“It’s been a hard night for me. I just wanted to help my team regardless if I felt like I would pass out tonight. I really wanted to help my team try to get this victory. It didn’t go the way I wanted to, but I just played through the migraines. I’ve been working on those baby hooks in practice. Coach Blair wanted me to come out and baby hook before I got blocked by Courtney Paris.”
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